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How to say Merry Christmas around the world

Merry Christmas around the world

The count down for Christmas is ON! This is also the busiest time of the year for travel. Certainly the most expensive, we all know that! Wherever you are in the world, living in another country or travelling, whether it is a country that celebrates Christmas or not, If you are in a touristy area, you will probably find people happy to say Merry Christmas. We all know that language is the one barrier that helps or hinders travel – so why not learn how to say Merry Christmas in another language and get to impress a local. Here is how to say Merry Christmas in some of the most travel countries in the world. Oh and if you are looking for some travel-related gift ideas, here is our travel-themed secret Santa gift list – all under $25.

Christmas in Europe

Most European regions do celebrate Christmas and they have all their own traditions and cultures. When travelling to Europe around Christmas time, don’t forget to check out some of the best Christmas markets. Pack warm clothing because it is cold and often snowy but the feeling of Christmas is in the air and it makes it oh so worth it! 


Italian – Buon Natale.
In other dialects: Sicilian is Bon Natali and Ladin is Bon/Bun Nadèl
Don’t forget to eat loads of Panettone!

Panettone on white background and silver tray


French – Joyeux Noël
Breton – Nedeleg Laouen
Corsican – Bon Natale
Alsatian -E güeti Wïnâchte

And if you do go to France for Christmas, be sure to check out Strasbourg in the Alsace region, it is meant to be the biggest and best Christmas market in France – don’t miss Colmar too. (Those are all in the Alsace region).

strasbourg christmas market


Spanish (Españo): Feliz Navidad or Nochebuena (which means ‘Holy Night’ – Christmas Eve)
Catalan: Bon Nadal
Galician: Bo Nadal
Basque (Euskara): Eguberri on (which means ‘Happy New Day’)


German: Frohe Weihnachten

Czech Republic

Czech: Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok

Prague is also known to have one of the best Christmas markets in Europe


Greek: Kala Christouyenna or Καλά Χριστούγεννα

If you do go to Greece for Christmas, maybe check out Aristotelous Square in the city of Thessaloniki, a huge Christmas Tree and three masted sailing ship are put up. It’s a popular tourist attraction.

Photo by


Portuguese: Feliz Natal

A special Christmas tradition called the ‘Christmas Madeiro’ takes place on Christmas Eve in the region of Penamacor. Back when compulsory military service was in effect young men who were about to go into the military were meant to steal whole trees. The aim – to make the tallest fire in the church yard.

Compulsory military service was stopped in 2004, but the tradition of lighting the fire still takes place in some areas. The wood is traditionally stollen and can not be bought! If the boys were caught by the owners of the trees, then they have to pay for it.

Now-a-days things are lighter an the wood is normally paid for after Christmas or it is discretely donated by the boy’s parents; or relatives who tell them where some trees that are sick, or which ones need felling, so they can get them from there!

Christmas in Asia


Vietnamese: Chuć Mưǹg Giańg Sinh

Vietnam used to be part of the French Empire and there are still French influences in the Christmas traditions. Santa is called ‘Ông già Noel’ (it means Christmas old man).



Tagalog: Maligayang Pasko
Ilokano: Naragsak Nga Paskua
Ilonggo: Malipayon nga Pascua
Sugbuhanon or Cebuano: Maayong Pasko
Bicolano: Maugmang Pasko
Pangalatok or Pangasinense: Maabig ya pasko or Magayagan inkianac
Warey Warey: Maupay Nga Pasko

People in the Philippines like to celebrate Christmas for as long as possible! The playing of Christmas carols in shops can start in September! The formal Christmas celebrations start on 16th December when many people go the the first of nine pre-dawn or early morning masses.


Thai: Suksun Wan Christmas


Hindi: Bada Din Mubarak Ho


Japanese: Meri Kurisumasu (or ‘Meri Kuri’ for short!)
Hiragana: めりーくりすます
Katakana: メリークリスマス

Fried chicken is often eaten on Christmas day. It is the busiest time of year for restaurants such as KFC and people can place orders at their local fast food restaurant in advance!

Christmas in Africa

I am going to sort out the African Christmas greetings by language as there are so many different languages in each country

Afrikaans (South Africa, Namibia): Geseënde Kersfees

Akan (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Benin): Afishapa

Amharic (Ethiopia): Melikam Gena! (መልካም ገና!)

Ashanti/Asante/Asante Twi (Ghana): afehyia pa

Chewa (Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe): Moni Wa Chikondwelero Cha Kristmasi

Dagbani (Ghana): Ni ti Burunya Chou

Edo (Nigeria): Iselogbe

Ewe (Ghana, Togo): Blunya na wo

Fula/Fulani (Niger, Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Sudan, Togo, Guinea, Sierra Leone): Jabbama be salla Kirismati

Hausa (Niger, Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Togo): barka dà Kirsìmatì

Ibibio (Nigeria): Idara ukapade isua

Igbo/Igo (Nigeria, Equatorial Guinea): E keresimesi Oma

Kinyarwanda (Rwanda, Uganda, DR Congo): Noheli nziza

Lingala (DR Congo, Rep Congo, Central African Republic, Angola): Mbotama Malamu

Luganda (Uganda): Seku Kulu

Ndebele (Zimbabwe, South Africa): Izilokotho Ezihle Zamaholdeni

Shona (Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Botswana): Muve neKisimusi

Soga/Lasoga (Uganda): Mwisuka Sekukulu

Somali (Somalia, Djibouti): Kirismas Wacan

Sotho (Lesotho, South Africa): Le be le keresemese e monate

Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya, DR Congo, Uganda):Krismasi Njema / Heri ya Krismasi

Tigrinya (Ethiopia and Eritreia): Ruhus Beal Lidet

Xhosa/isiXhosa (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho): Krismesi emnandi

Yoruba (Nigeria, Benin): E ku odun, e ku iye’dun

Zulu (South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland): UKhisimusi omuhle

The Americas

Portuguese and Spanish, as well as English are the main languages of the Americas. Although, there are some great traditions throughout. A lot of the time, this involves mass at midnight, followed by fireworks and a lot of food. Presents are normally given on Christmas eve. Think Nativity scenes and other traditions.

In Brazil, Santa Claus is called Papai Noel & Bom Velhinho (Good Old Man). Because it is a hot Christmas in Brazil, a lot of people head to the beach – much like other hot countries like Australia.

In Colombia, Christmas celebrations and preparations start on the evening of the 7th December which is known as ‘Día de las Velitas’ or ‘Day of the little Candles’. Houses and streets are decorated with candles, lanterns and lots of lights.


Spanish is main language – Feliz Navidad
Nahuatl: Cualli netlācatilizpan
Yucatec Maya: Ki’imak “navidad”

In Mexico the celebration of Christmas is called las posadas and begins on December 16. The ninth evening of las posadas is Buena Noche, Christmas Eve. The children lead a procession to the church and place a figure of the Christ Child in the nacimiento or nativity scene there. Then everyone attends midnight mass. Followed by bells ringing and fireworks

Poinsettia flowers are known as ‘nochebuena’ (Christmas Eve) flowers in Mexico.

Poinsettia flowers


Haitian Creole: Jwaye Nowe

French is also common, so it is ‘Joyeux Noël’

On Christmas Eve, children place their newly cleaned shoes, filled with straw under the tree on the porch. They hope that Santa (called ‘Tonton Nwèl’) will remove the straw and put presents in and around the shoes!

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